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Updated Mar 5, 2014 - 5:26 pm

Tucson couple arrested after child's remains found

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Police say a Tucson couple was arrested Wednesday after human remains believed to be those of their 3-year-old son were found in a plastic toy chest in the backyard of a home where the family had been living.

The remains are believed to be those of Roman Barreras and were discovered Tuesday by someone who was cleaning the home as the family was in the process of moving out, said Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Pete Dugan.

The boy's mother, Raquel Barreras, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse. The boy's father, Martin Barreras, also was booked on suspicion of child abuse.

Dugan said authorities are trying to determine how and when the child died. The cause of death will be determined by medical examiners.

Police were unable to tell whether there were signs of abuse on the decomposing body.

Dugan declined to say whether family members knew of abuse of the child, but said relatives had raised questions about where the boy was and were given various answers.

The couple have four other children ranging in age from 4 to 19.

Dugan said there didn't appear to be any signs of abuse on the other children, but the children suffered from neglect, such as not attending school regularly.

The state's child welfare agency has taken into custody the three children who are under 18, police said.

It's not unclear whether Raquel and Martin Barreras have a lawyer. They don't have a listed phone number.

Dugan said the remains weren't those of 6-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis of Tucson. Authorities have been searching for the girl since her father reported her missing in April 2012.

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